A Courtroom Surprise

By   May 11, 2016

Gavel breaking a chain

By Chris Callahan, Western Region Vice Chair, Kairos of North Carolina. He is an attorney in Rutherfordton, NC.

It was the last case on the Department of Social Services Court calendar that day.

The parents had failed to make progress on their child neglect case for over a year, so the proposed guardians of the child were introduced to the court by the Department of Social Services for examination.

Judge Rob Martelle was on the bench, and read that the proposed male guardian/parental figure was previously incarcerated at Tyger River Correctional below Spartanburg. A bit surprised that the Department of Social Services was recommending a felon’s candidacy for guardian, he asked the man a question.

“What changed about you?” he inquired.

“I did this thing called a Kairos Weekend, while in prison,” he answered, “and it changed my life.”

Judge Martelle smiled, asks me if I’d heard that. Grinning, I go over to the man and put my arm around him and spoke softly, “See, Judge Martelle has done almost 10 Kairos Prison Ministry weekends and actually led one, and I’ve done more than 30 Kairos Weekends. By the way, bet you might know the court clerk down there too?”

Rutherfordton is rural area in North Carolina, but 25% of its lawyers participate in Kairos, as well as three court clerks, and three women from the courthouse who participate on teams as cookie baggers.

Judge Martelle approved the guardianship and said in conclusion, “See, Kairos really DOES make a difference!”